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  #1  
Old September 22nd, 2007, 02:36 PM
ron_hiner ron_hiner is offline
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Default Photoshop... where do yo start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
Post deleted in complete and utter frustration with photoshop.
It ain't going to happen.
This pretty much sums up my first days/weeks and months in Photoshop. Breakthroghs stated to come when I ignored 95% of the tool and focused in on just a couple key things.

For me, it was learning layers and layer masks first, then (and only then) did i begin to be effective with other components of Phothoshop.

I very rarely use photoshop anymore -- but for the benefet those that want to learn it... where would you start?

similar quetion from a different angle: If you could agree that 90% of the value of photoshop come from just a couple of key tools within... what would those tools be?

Ron
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  #2  
Old September 22nd, 2007, 04:20 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Ron, may the Deity bless you! You have no idea how I've been struggling with this.
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  #3  
Old September 22nd, 2007, 05:25 PM
JohnZeman JohnZeman is offline
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I've been using the Photoshop quite regularly since 1996, and it serves as a dual purpose tool for me. As a webmaster it's absolutely a must for my graphics design work. In regards to digital photography I used to use it a lot until I got Lightroom. Now only a few of my photos get sent to the Photoshop for advanced corrections.

Strictly on an advice for Photoshop newbies level here, I'll just tell you how I mostly used the Photoshop with my digital photos.

Levels. Probably one of the most used tools for me in PS was levels. Others will argue that curves are better, and perhaps they are, I was just more comfortable using levels. As an example of how to use levels, open a photo and go to the layers palette. At the bottom in the middle, click the icon that looks like a black/white split circle. That creates a new adjustment layer over the top of your photo. From the list of layer types, choose levels and then play with the levels sliders or just press "Auto Levels". The nice thing about using levels this way is it does not permanently alter your original photo. (You can easily turn off that levels adjustment layer at any time by clicking the eye in the layers palette to the left of the layer name.)

In the same manner you can create other adjustment layers. Brightness/contrast, exposure, and so on.

Keep in mind the Photoshop is way too complex to be summed up with a few simple words as I'm doing here. I've been using it for 11 years now and I'm still learning new things about it.

John
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  #4  
Old September 22nd, 2007, 06:24 PM
Greg Rogers Greg Rogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnZeman View Post
Keep in mind the Photoshop is way too complex to be summed up with a few simple words as I'm doing here. I've been using it for 11 years now and I'm still learning new things about it.John
Amen. Rachel, a basic approach is what is needed to avoid the initial overwhelming nature of the beast. Problem is, not sure anyone will agree what those steps are.

Without a lot of thought, I'd say;

Levels: to learn about the histogram and clipping (arguably not the best tool, but a decent tool to learn as mentioned.

Curves: to learn a better way to manipulate mid-range dynamics without blowing (clipping) shadows or highlights, while learning even more about histograms and clipping.

Adjustment layers (to be able to go back and make corrections) Or put another way, non-destructive editing)

Then on from there.

Please don't give up! Please?

Note that John admits to being 12 years in and still learning. I'm 2-3 years years in, no doubt way behind John, and having a ball trying to catch up. It's the getting started that is daunting. Once you cross that barrier, it gets fun! (sort of, most of the time)

-Greg
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  #5  
Old September 23rd, 2007, 01:56 AM
Tim Armes Tim Armes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron_hiner View Post
This pretty much sums up my first days/weeks and months in Photoshop. Breakthroghs stated to come when I ignored 95% of the tool and focused in on just a couple key things.

For me, it was learning layers and layer masks first, then (and only then) did i begin to be effective with other components of Phothoshop.

Ron

Hi Rachel,

Don't give up, Photoshop's a very advanced and very comprehensive program, and it's normal to find it completely overwhelming when you first start. You'll reap the rewards after the first few failures.

Ron and the others here are right - you need to start with just one thing and then build up from there. No one knows the entire program, we just learn what we need to for our own purposes.

Many photographers can acheive 95% of there needs with ajdustment layers alone, and they're quite simple once you understand the principle. May I suggest that you post an image to the adjustment layers thread, and tell us what you're trying to do and where you're getting stuck, then we can help you through it.

Regards,

Tim
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  #6  
Old September 23rd, 2007, 05:52 AM
ron_hiner ron_hiner is offline
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Rachel -- and interested others...

In my view, Photoshop is a tool for fixing specific problems... and sometimes photoshop offers a dozen ways (or more) to solve one specifc problem. So part of the learning curve could be viewed as knowing several ways to solve a problem, and knowing which will work best on your image.

So... I would suggest that you buy one book full of what are essential recipe cards to produce a given result. i say 'one book' -- not in the sense of a particular book, but just pick one of the many hundreds that are out there. Don't go crazy buying a shelf full of photoshop books. Having said that, I find Scott Kelby's book particularly good (and sometimes entertaining). His latest -- CS3 for Digital Photographers is likely just the ticket. He has a CS2 version of the same book as well. Martin Evenings books are very good too. And so are many others. Just pick one... and learn the recipes to solve specific problems, and you will be learning layers and masks in no time.

Ron
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  #7  
Old September 23rd, 2007, 07:20 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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You know, the last day or so I've been engaging in a huge temper tantrum. You've all been patient and encouraging. It speaks well of the entire forum. I'm a bit humbled by the graciousness I've seen here.

I'm going to slow way down. I'm going to pick at photoshop, but slowly and patiently.

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old September 23rd, 2007, 07:30 AM
Tim Gray Tim Gray is offline
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Well, - regarding PS solving specific problems, that's kind of true, but the point is that all (or at least the vast majority) of captures have identical specific problems - setting black and white points (just because you exposed it right doesn't mean you've optimized the dynamic range - it's a pretty remarkable shot that include a true white and black point without a lot of clipping), ALL cameras not used by NASA use some kind of anti aliase filter and need some form of shrpening.

Of course if you shoot JPG, I take that all back, since the software in the camera will do all that for you. (Actually I don't think there are any cameras that will accurately, automatically set the B and W points, but I may be wrong). But certainly you can usually get automatic staturation and sharpening boosts - whether the automation is equally appropriate for all images is up to you to decide.

If you shoot RAW, there are several parts to this - getting the global settings correct, and everything else. You can get the global settings (including wb) done in the RAW conversion - so at the conversion point the equivalent of curves in Lightroom or ACR 4.x and wb are mandatory. (cropping and levelling are nice to have)

Within PS itself, my list of "must haves" is again, in 2 parts, the first native to PS itself:

- actions for automation
-blending modes (particualry soft light for doge and burning, overlay, multiply and luminosity)
- masks and layers
- sharpening (both USM and high pass filter)
- other filters - blur, smart blur, lens distortion
- merge for panos
- merge for HDR
- transform distortion to fix perspective
- BW conversion (cs3 is great)
- curves (of course I could do the smart object thing and go back to the raw converter for this, but it's easier to do native sometimes...)

The final area is PS as a platform for plugins, so I don't have to directly deal with 3 or 4 different programs, I regularly use:

- Focus Magic for capture sharpening
- Neat image for noise reduction
- Mikes frames script for framing.

I don't use PS for printing - I use Qimage for color and Quadtone RIP for BW.
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  #9  
Old September 24th, 2007, 12:41 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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I use levels (rarely), curves (always), shadow/highlight (often) for basic color correction. This work is after conversion from RGB to a LAB profile, which to my way of thinking makes more sense. LAB lets you make luminosity changes independently of color changes in curves and (using the luminosity channel) in shadow/highlight. Color retouching in LAB is through magenta-green and blue-yellow contrasts using curves. For finer color adjustment to just some parts of the image, I add a duplicate layer, make the required changes in that layer, then use the Blend If option in Layer Style and masking to make sure the upper layer is visible only in the desired parts of the image. Then follows a switch back to RGB because many other Photoshop options are unavailable in LAB. Because one of my cameras is a medium format super-wide angle without shift options, with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 15mm, I usually have to use Lens Correction to straighten up minor errors in perspective made while shooting.
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  #10  
Old September 25th, 2007, 02:42 AM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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Default Four easy steps

Greetings,

as I am a newbie myself, a few things I found out while starting with PS a few month ago.

1. Much needed Tool
Personally I waited way too long to make this investement, and I would recommend you to purchase a Wacom INTUOS graphic tablett. They have a 25 years celebration at the moment and some special offers. http://www.wacom.com/index2.cfm

2. Basics
The second and equally most important step is to have the Photoshop preferences set right, things such as scratch discs, cache, color space etc. In this category I also would pack the issue of calibrating your screen.

3. Playtime
Now the fun part starts, PLAYTIME! There is nothing better than to goof around for a few days with photoshop without any particular goal, just enjoy it and explore what is there and how to use it. Have one window open with the Help menu and search if you need some basic explanations on techniques and functions.

This way you get a feeling for the structure and functionality of the application imho.

4. Educational Material
Tons of material is available, video tutorials as well as books, take your pic.

So far I purchased around 30 books but I will not recommend a particular author, just for the reason that I do not know your preference of learning.

Personally, I like a more academic approach. I can not stand Scott Kelby's style of writing to be honest (LOL), your milage may vary.

Last not least:

http://www.russellbrown.com/tips_tech.html

http://photoshopnews.com/
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  #11  
Old September 25th, 2007, 01:52 PM
Herman Teeuwen Herman Teeuwen is offline
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> but for the benefet those that want to learn it... where would you start?

If I had to start all over again, I would skip the book/tutorial route and take a subscription to lynda.com or TotalTraining online video libraries. For me personally this approach worked best. I started learning PS using books, but really learned the program using Deke McClelland's DVD's for TotalTraining.

For example, the monthly fee for lynda.com is 25 USD and IMO they offer good value for the money.
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  #12  
Old March 19th, 2008, 01:38 PM
Aida BGAgraphix Aida BGAgraphix is offline
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I think the best thing about PS are layers and masks. They are essential to make any image, without damaging the details in the original.

DVD's are a good way to learn , because the visual part of them help too, but I preffer books. I think they have much more info than in a DVD, but that depends. :) Just my point of view.
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  #13  
Old March 19th, 2008, 02:43 PM
Andrew Rodney Andrew Rodney is offline
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So get hip to Lightroom, then your use of Photoshop will drop a good 70-80%.
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  #14  
Old July 12th, 2008, 02:53 PM
Jeremy Jachym Jeremy Jachym is offline
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Default I very rarely use photoshop anymore -- but for the benefet those that want to learn i

1) Explore, 2) Welcome mistakes, 3) Breathe, 4) Recognize it's an unknown and approach it with curiosity, 5) or don't... do whatever it is you feel you must.

In November of last year I started "rock climbing" at an indoor gym. I remember at first I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I attacked the wall with my arms and payed little attention to my legs, body posture, breathing, technique, how to read the holds or anything of value ;-) It was frustrating until I recognized I was a beginner and accepted that being a beginner means you don't know. Expectations lead to frustration, so be kind to yourself and address where you are, not where you want to be.

I taught myself Photoshop. I still recall how daunting it felt. It's an application that offers what seems like infinite path ways to an unknown result. My problem was I wanted to know where I was going and how I was going to get there. Nevertheless it was my problem that propelled me into PS and made me read through forums, books, watch online videos, ask questions and most importantly experiment over and over and over and over and over, etc... again. Practice makes perfect. Übung macht den Meister.

Shoot RAW! This is how you're going to get to work and rework that image over and over until that "something" clicks. I second Andrew's recommendation: Lightroom. The edits you make are non committal and non-destructive, so you can always go too far and come back, and in the process learn something. Use the tools therein and observe their effects using the history palette. Get acquainted with it.

After Lightroom I still use PS for curves (local and global corrections), layer masking, cloning/healing, sharpening, dealing with noise, photo filters and that's about it.

In the end through trial and error you come to know what works for you and PS becomes another language you speak. It's a beautiful tool. Have fun, or not ;-)

JJ
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